Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I get to Bortusk’s playground just as the rain starts to fall. An Oompa Loompa let’s me in through the main gate and guides me across the psychedelic courtyard. I take shelter under the peppermint trees and wait for my maniacal host to arrive. The walls are lined with weird, nu-rave creatures; a colourful assortment of monsters and mismatched porcelain dolls, watching through beady, fluorescent eyes as I wait for their master...

Chatting to London street artist Bortusk Leer, staring at his cut-here and barcode wrist tattoos, I get the impression that, first and foremost, this work exists to make Bortusk laugh. He’s like the Patch Adams of street art, swapping black rats for psychedelic, nu-rave pigeons. Showing people it’s okay to act silly and take pleasure in the little things. That life's not all black and white political satire with a side helping of misery.

This month, ‘til June 26, Bortusk’s first solo show Bortusk Took a Trip is on at Tony’s Gallery, Shoreditch. I spoke to him over a cup of coffee to find out more.

The Tony’s Gallery write up on your talk this Saturday says, “Listen to the logic behind the madness and understand why Bortusk Leer creates the work he does”. So for those that can’t make it, give us some insight?

Cor, that’s an interesting one to come out with. I didn’t write that. The reason I got into outsider style, naïve art is... when I was doing my foundation years at college, I used to help my old ceramics teacher teach special needs kids. And I just loved the way they worked. The freedom. I like that instant, child-like way of making things. I try to paint like a five year old. I think that’s the best way to describe it.

Here for the full interview (Don't Panic Online)

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